Celestial Harmonic Motion

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Amongst all the media stories of shootings and violence that daily disturb us, one amazing and encouraging story appeared in early July of 2016. It was the account of the successful arrival, after a flight lasting five years, of the probe Juno within the orbit of the planet Jupiter. As the Juno probe approached Jupiter’s orbit a remarkable video was filmed showing Jupiter’s four moons, Callisto, Europa, Ganymede and Io, moving around the planet. Dr. Scott Bolton, NASA principal investigator, said: “In all of history, we’ve really never been able to see the motion of any heavenly body against another … This is harmony at every scale. I think Galileo would really have enjoyed the movie. Watching this amazing video, I felt so moved by this glimpse into the universe. It was a reminder to me that God is in control and the mysteries of creation are way beyond our present knowledge and vision.

In the year 1610 the controversial Italian Galileo Galilei discovered the existence of moons that orbited around the planet Jupiter. He deduced that Jupiter has four moons by observations of varying positions of the points of light using a telescope that he developed. These and other observations caused him serious issues with the Church because they challenged the accepted Aristotelian view that all the heavenly bodies revolved around the earth. Galileo was investigated by the Inquisition, charged with heresy and made to recant his theory that the Earth moves around the Sun. It is widely held that subsequently he uttered the words, “And yet it moves.”

Human beings seem always to think that we know it all. It takes so long for major scientific discoveries to be accepted, and sadly, it has often been the Church that has been slowest to accept change. Our view of God is restricted by our own hubris. God is so much greater than we can realize and we hesitate to dream of what is possible.

That beautiful little video gives me renewed hope in the power of God to enable us to change the world we live in for the better. Human beings have so much talent, so many possibilities, and if we choose we can do so much good. The grace of God is there for us but we do need to become more adventurous, more trusting, and more faithful in receiving it and allowing God to use us to do His work in the world.

As Christians we believe that Jesus, Son of God, took our human form and came to live as one of us, showing what is possible. We were baptized into God’s family and nothing is impossible if we accept the implications of the baptismal covenant. So let us pray for new vision, new hope, and fresh determination to become what God wants us to be and to change the violence and strife in the world into His Kingdom of peace.

Our Gracious and Eternal God,
Praise be to you for the wonders of creation.
Thank you for the men and women
who share with us new glimpses of the universe.

Open our eyes and minds
that we may be willing to search out new knowledge
and understand more and more of You
our loving Father.

Look with mercy upon the world in which we live.
Forgive us for the problems we have make
and enable us to seek ways to cooperate with each other
to heal and renew the world.

May we look afresh, day by day,
to Jesus our Saviour;
being willing to be formed
into His likeness as part of our family.
Thank you for His example and
for the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit
to change us to your glory.
Amen.

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